The Big Bad Junk Food Review of 2018 : Where to find the best pizza, chicken and cheap food.
This year has been a good food and drink year for me. I’ve indulged on wine and cheese in the depths of the French Alps, conquered the mighty bratwursts of Germany, devoured authentic Italian pizzas and took on the fast-food FEBO machines of Holland.
But in light of recent Brexit discussions (thanks, Theresa) I think it’s best that I divert my attention away from EU delicacies and stick to what I actually know – good, fresh, unpretentious food that distracts me from the horrors of modern Britain. Looking at Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester, here’s some of my favourite go-to spots for feel-good scran:
Whether we’re making it ourselves, going to restaurants or shovelling it in after a night out; the humble pizza remains one of Britain’s favourites. After sampling many pizzas this year, I can confidently say that these places dish up some of the tastiest I’ve ever had.
The Nominees are:
1. Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza – Manchester
Situated in the up-and-coming area of Ancoats, (there is also another site on Peter St) Rudy’s brings a refreshing take on the neighbourhood pizza place.
Cooked in true Neapolitan fashion, the pizza is cooked in just 60 seconds, giving it a flavour unlike any other. With a simple, yet cleverly constructed menu, Rudy’s is the place to go for authentic pizza in a relaxing atmosphere; for simple food done exquisitely well.
9 Cotton St, Manchester M4 5BF. Phone – 0161 820 8292. Open – 12pm – 10pm (10:30pm Friday/Saturday, 9pm Sundays)
2. Trattoria Il Forno – Leeds
Away from the buzz of the city centre, this family run pizzeria serves up a wide range of pizzas, pastas, and gelato. The pizza is the star, with over thirty of them to choose from, including six vegetarian options.
However, it’s the 20” pizzas which rank this place so highly. Availablewith half and half pizza toppings for when you can’t settle on just oneof their delicious pizzas and also a perfect choice for sharers – you just can’t seem to go wrong with this place.
Another neighbourhood pizzeria, Proove shows that simplicity and quality ingredients are all you need when it comes to this dish. Like the others, they have a fair amount of pizzas to choose from (12 to be precise) and are priced reasonably well. The atmosphere inside is laidback as it plays on its small design and quirky features. It’s always my go-to for pizza in Sheffield.
There’s just an unbeatable quality about this place. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that this pizza is some of the best I’ve ever tasted – on par with that of Italy’s. My top tip is to try anything with the mascarpone cheese, one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten, seriously.
From Peri-Peri to syrup and waffles, chicken is one of the most versatile meats out there; but with so many restaurants to choose from, it can be difficult to find somewhere truly finger lickin’ good. Luckily, I’ve done the work, so you don’t have to!
The Nominees are:
1. Manjaros – Leeds
Located just outside Leeds city centre in a popular student area, this place serves great food inspired by African and Caribbean flavours.
It’s all about sharing – the full chicken platters encourage an excitement surrounding the food, something that makes this restaurant special – and the price isn’t bad either! For great flame-grilled chicken in Leeds, forget Nandos, it’s all about Manjaros.
2 Burley Rd, Leeds LS3 1JR. Phone – 0113 345 6200. Open – 12pm to 11pm (12am Friday/Saturday)
2. Lucky Fox– Sheffield
Got a craving for fried chicken in Sheffield? You’re in luck, with this firm foodie favourite ranking highly on my chicken radar.
Putting a unique spin on the often cliched American Diner aesthetic, Lucky Fox is a haven for relaxed dining with a menu packed with good ol’ southern classics such as chicken ‘n’ waffles, hot wings and burgers. It is always my opinion that less is more with a menu and the food here speaks for itself in terms of its simplicity and deliciousness.
72 Division St, Sheffield S1 4GF and also 525 Ecclesall Rd, Sheffield S11 8PR. Phone – 0114 278 0811. Open 11-6 daily (til 8 Friday & Saturday).
3.Yard & Coop – Manchester
Chicken and booze are the name of the game at this Manchester favourite. Serving up fried chicken classics alongside innovative dishes such as the ‘coop kebab’, Yard and Coop never disappoints.
As it is located in the bustling Northern Quarter, this place is perfect for a mid-sesh much, with a lively atmosphere that is great for both dates and group outings.
37 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW. Phone – 0161 710 2570. Open – 12pm to 1am (til 12am Sunday/Monday)
And the verdict is……Lucky Fox
The combination of fresh and locally sourced ingredients, great menu and laid-back atmosphere make this my favourite of the bunch. Having been a number of times without disappointment, its fair to say that Lucky Fox (and fried chicken) have a much-loved place in my heart.
Best Cheap Eats
Us northerners love a good bargain – especially when its great food at an even better price. Whether you’re wanting a quick bite on the move or a sit-down meal – you don’t always have to break the bank. Here’s some of my favourite places to get more bite for your buck.
The Nominees are:
1. The Nottingham House – Sheffield
A favourite with Sheffield locals and with good reason. ‘Notty House’is the go-to place in when all you fancy is a good ol’ pie with a hefty portion of chips or mash with gravy – and lots of it.
With a wide variety of pies to choose from (veggie and vegan options included) it’s no surprise that this place is a haven for students and locals alike. The pies really are a bargain but sell out rapidly so get down there quick – go! At only around eight quid for a pie, it’d be rude not to.
164 Whitham Rd, Sheffield S10 2SR. Phone – 0114 327 0508. Open – 12pm to 12am (til 1am Friday/Saturday)
2. Zm Zm Bakery – Leeds
Although they’ve got a store in Harehills, I always visit them at their market stall in the Kirkgate Markets. A chicken shawarma doesn’t sound like anything special, nor does it need to be, but Zm Zm bakery have created something special.
For under a fiver you can get a shawarma that’s bursting with chicken, salad and whatever sauce you may fancy, as well as a can of a soft drink of your choice. For the price and convenience, it’s truly unbeatable – a Turkish haven in the heart of Yorkshire.
Find them inthe food hall of Leeds Kirkgate Market. Open – 8am – 5:30pm (closed Sundays).
3. The Harley/Twisted Burger Co – Sheffield
Another Sheffield competitor, The Harley (Twisted Burger Co, which also has a smaller site inside The Moor Market) is a perfect combination of superb junk food, good surroundings and attentive staff. The burgers here are by far some of the nicest I’ve tasted and for the price it is truly unbelievable. With the mixtape deal, you can create your own burger and chips combo for just over a fiver. Wow. Not only this, but TBC are renowned for their vegan options, which makes this the perfect place for everyone to enjoy – cheap, good quality food in a welcoming atmosphere.
The Harley, 334 Glossop Rd, Sheffield S10 2HW. Phone – 0114 275 4407. Open – 12pm-1opm daily.
and the verdict is…The Harley
For cheap eats in a great environment there really is no other winner. The Harley capitalises on its affordability, using locally sourced and fresh ingredients to create delicious food that doesn’t discriminate – a worthy winner.
So that’s it – my favourite food spots for this year. I for one am excited to try some of the new ventures opening in and around my favourite cities in 2019. And who knows, maybe the next food review will stick to its resolution, and be more healthy?